State law (Education Code Section 48200) requires regular and punctual attendance. The administration will determine whether absences are excused or unexcused. School administration enforces attendance policies and will monitor students who are chronically absent or tardy and take appropriate steps following state and district policies to improve their attendance. Poor attendance or chronic tardiness may lead transfers that attend Discovery Elementary being revoked.

The most important reason for good school attendance is education. Students who have poor attendance miss important concepts and information. In addition, they develop poor attendance habits, which can negatively affect their success later in life. The staff at Discovery Elementary School will help parents in any way we can to ensure regular and prompt attendance for our students.

Reporting Absences

For each day your student is absent, please complete the DSC Absence Reporting Form or call the Attendance Number 760.290.2077 - Press 4. Our Attendance Clerk must contact the family of each absent student daily to verify the reason for the student’s absence. When you call ahead of time, it greatly helps with the daily attendance process.

San Marcos Unified School District Board Policy 5113 for Absences and Excuses states that for an absence from school to be considered excused, the parent or guardian must provide a satisfactory explanation either in person, by written note, or by phone within 72 hours of the student’s return to school. Upon returning to school after being absent, the student shall be permitted to return to class.

Should a situation arise which requires your child to be absent from school for 5 days or more that is not a result of an illness, please notify the front office at least one week in advance. AnIndependent Study Contract will be sent home with your child to complete during the absence. Independent Study Contracts are not available for vacations that occur during the instructional year (per Education Code). Please plan vacations for designated times based upon the school calendar.

Excused Absences

Per SMUSD Board Policy 5113 and CA Education Code 48205, students receive an excused absence when they are absent from school for the following reasons: 

  1. Attendance at funeral services for a member of the immediate family (1 day in state, 3 days out-of-state);

  2. Serious illness of a member of the family which necessitates the absence of the student; 

  3. Illness or injury of the student; 

  4. Quarantine under the direction of a county or city health officer;

  5. Medical, dental, optometrical, or chiropractic appointments;

  6. Jury duty in the manner provided by law;

  7. Justifiable personal reasons, including but not limited to, an appearance in court, observance of a holiday or ceremony of his/her religion, an employment interview or education conference, service at an election precinct, or attendance at a funeral service and such other absences as the principal may consider justifiable when requested in advance. 

Students who plan to be absent for reasons other than the first three listed above should seek approval by presenting a note from their parent, guardian, or caregiver to the assistant principal, who will then indicate approval or disapproval. Any student shall be allowed to complete all assignments and tests missed during an excused absence that can reasonably be provided, and on completion, shall be given full credit. When a student exceeds 10 absences in a school year, the school may require further absences to be verified by a physician.


California Law (EC 48260) classifies a student as a "truant" when the student has missed school on three (3) occasions involving any combination on the following:

  • Being absent from school without a valid excuse for a full day.

  • Being more than 30 minutes late to school.

  • Being absent from school without a valid excuse for more than 30 minutes.

Chronic Absentee

State of California Education Code 60901(c)(1) instructs schools to consider a student as a "chronic absentee" whenever they have missed more than ten percent (10%) of the school year, for any reason, from the date the student enrolled to the present. All absences (unexcused, unverified, or excused) and tardies greater than 30 minutes no matter the reason are included in the chronic absentee. 

Student Attendance Review Team (SART)

Families of students with excessive absences, either truant or chronic, will be notified through a district multi-step process (see below) which may include a referral to a School Attendance Review Team (SART). 

Step 1: Attendance Letter #1 

Truancy Letter - Sent after 3 unexcused absences, 3 unexcused tardies, or a combination.

Chronic Absentee Letter -  Sent when a student is absent or tardy for 10% or more of the school days.

Step 2: Attendance Letter #2

Truancy Letter - Sent after 6 unexcused absences, 6 unexcused tardies, or a combination.

Chronic Absentee Letter -  Sent when a student continues to be absent or tardy for 10% or more of the school days.

Step 3: School Attendance Review Team (SART) Meeting

School will contact the family to schedule a SART Meeting.

School meets with family to determine supports needed for regular attendance and SART contract is signed.

Step 4: SART Violation Letter

Sent if one or more absences occur after SART Meeting.

Step 5: Attendance Letter #3

Truancy Letter - Sent after 9 unexcused absences, 9 unexcused tardies, or a combination.

Chronic Absentee Letter -  Sent when a student continues to be absent or tardy for 10% or more of the school days.

Step 6: Student Attendance Review Board Meeting

SMUSD SARB panel meets with family at district office to discuss attendance and a 

SARB contract may be signed.

Tardy Procedures

Students are considered late when the gates close at the 8:45 am bell. Late students must first report to the Attendance Clerk in the front office to check-in prior to going to their classroom. The start of the school day is one of the most important times of the day. Please ensure your student arrives to school on time. Discovery Elementary School follows state and district policy for tardy students.

Change of Contact Information

If you should have a change in your address, phone number, email, or emergency phone numbers please notify the attendance office immediately. In the event your student becomes ill or is injured, authorized persons must be able to be contacted. 

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